In the following report from the NPSO, the following corrections should be noted:
“Creston Waterworks System” should be “Creston Water System, Inc.”
“independent certified auditor” and “auditor” should be “local accouting firm”.
An investigation into financial improprieties at the Creston Waterworks System in north Natchitoches Parish has led to the arrest of a Creston woman on felony theft charges according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation began on May 6, 2020 when Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies received a complaint of funds allegedly missing from the Creston Waterworks system.
An offense report was completed and turned over to the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division for investigative purposes.
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Detectives, and an independent certified auditor began to investigate the allegations.
Detectives and auditors began reviewing documents, banking and financial records of the Creston Waterworks since 2013 until April of 2020.
During the course of the investigation, detectives and auditors determined approximately $173,000.00 dollars in waterworks funds had been taken.
Detectives then began focusing their attention towards the Creston Waterworks Secretary/Bookkeeper.
On May 8, Detectives assigned to the NPSO High Tech Crime Unit executed a search warrant at the Creston Waterworks Office seizing forensic evidence for analysis.
Detectives interviewed the secretary on May 19 and May 21 at the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division.
During the course of those interviews, detectives learned Miss Harper allegedly used unauthorized waterworks funds to pay several personal credit card bills and overpaid herself.
Detectives continued to gather additional information from auditors.
As a result of the investigation:
On Thursday June 11, Wendie Weaver Harper, 52, of the 600 block of Sandy Point Road, Campti, La. reported to the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division where she was arrested in connection with the investigation.
Harper was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 1-count of Felony Theft.
A Tenth Judicial District Court Judge has set bond at $100,000.00.
Detectives say the investigation is ongoing while they continue to interview witnesses.
If you have any information contact Asst. Chief of Investigations Detective Reginald Turner at 318-357-7830.
The case will be forwarded to the Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
Detectives remind public entities it is very important to keep proper records and have yearly audits completed.